Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why I Love Rupert Murdoch

The Post today also endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton for re-election to the United States Senate.
Well, so are we - a little.

Let that sink in for a second.

The New York Post is endorsing HRC. The Post is owned by the News Corp., which also owns Fox and the Fox News Channel. Could you ever imagine Fox News endorsing Hill for anything? Of course not. But much like the Senator's position on gay rights is "evolving", so are the Murdoch owned properties hard-lined right wing stances "evolving".

Because, here's my theory: Fox News isn't slanted so far right because that's what Murdoch originally wanted, it's slanted so far right because that was how the prevailing wind was blowing in Washington. Murdoch wants to be on the power side, the side that wins. (Hence, Hillary.) Mark my words: If Dems win in '06 and '08, Fox News will slowly drift center. You might not notice it, because it will happen slowly, but if the Dems have solid control of the executive and legislative branches (perhaps in 2010?), Fox News will be cheering on the new winning team. And Murdoch will still have the hearts and minds of the largest American voting block.

Without Further Comment #7 ("Lookin' Forward to Being 30" Edition)

The federal government's "no sex without marriage" message isn't just for kids anymore.
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the revision is aimed at 19- to 29-year-olds because more unmarried women in that age group are having children.

Government data released last month show that 998,262 births in 2004 were to unmarried women 19-29, the ages with the most births to unmarried women.

"The message is 'It's better to wait until you're married to bear or father children,' " Horn said. "The only 100% effective way of getting there is abstinence."

yesterday's USA Today


New York's Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cost-of-Living Calculator. Give it a (very depressing) whirl.

My cost of living in 10 years ended up being $180,000 after taxes.

Uggggh! And that's just with one kid in public school. I've seen plenty of Baby Stories! Those wenches always trick ya into having a couple!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I'd Rather Watch This than the Learning Channel

There's about 20 awesome things going on in this video. I can't even begin to catalog them:

via digg

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Opiniogram #2

#2 - Frozen Music edition

Without Further Comment #6 ("Living in a Post x World" edition)

The Kobe earthquake and the Tokyo gas attack of Janurary and March 1995 are two of the gravest tragedies in Japan's postwar history. It is no exaggeration to say there was marked change in the Japanese consciousness "before" and "after" these events. These twin catastrophes will remain embedded in our psyche as two milestones in our life as a people.

That such cataclysmic events should come in quick succession was as startling as it was coincidental. Yet, arriving as they did at the time when Japan's "Bubble economy" burst, marking the end of those times of rampant excess, they ushered in a period of critical inquiry into the very roots of the Japanese state. It was as if these events had been lying in wait to ambush us.

Emphasis mine.

from Haruki Murakami's Underground (2000), an oral history of the Tokyo subway sarin gas attacks.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Crazy about Christians

With the changing of the leaves, the nip of Jack Frost and the end of Hell's Kitchen: Season 2, it can only mean one thing -- time to program the DVR for a fall of butt numbing new shows. In the time honored throw-spaghetti-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks tradition of network television, we've been bombarded with new choices. This season, I've hitched my horse to two series and (luckily for me) I think they're gonna stick -- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Friday Night Lights. I recommend both.

Studio 60 got off to a slow start, but the last two episodes have been great television about making media in Dubya America. Of course, being that it's written by Aaron Sorkin (of West Wing and An American President fame), conservative watchdogs are both watching and dogging. L. Brent Bozell III, head of the always cheery Parent's Television Council, wrote this for the innocuous-sounding, but far-right leaning townhall.com:

The show goes behind the scenes of a fictional sketch-comedy program resembling "Saturday Night Live" at a fictional network called UBS. The censors at UBS have scratched a skit titled "Crazy Christians," and now all hell will break loose. We're never shown the skit, but we're told repeatedly that it's demonstrably hilarious.

Sorkin uses his first script to throw sharp knives and rusty razors at the Americans who've lobbied for less filthy television. The show begins with an improbable "standards and practices" censor telling the producer of the fictional "SNL" that he can't run "Crazy Christians" because "what do you want me to say to the 50 million people who are gonna go out of their minds as soon as it airs?" The producer cracks wise: "Well, first of all, you can tell 'em we average 9 million households, so at least 41 million of them are full of crap. Second, you can tell 'em that living where there's free speech means sometimes you're gonna get offended."

Wow. That was a wise crack. What's the Moral Majority's response?

But Hollywood writers know that in a free-speech society, people are free to denounce Hollywood's shows when they are vile and disgusting.

Let's remember, we are talking about a show about a fake comedy show, but if you read it carefully, he doesn't seem to be arguing for the "Crazy Christians" skit to be cut. He instead argues that it's those "50 million" morality-loving Christian's God-given right to call and complain. And, for them to call and complain, the skit would have had to run. He actually seems to want a patently Christian bashing skit to run -- just so the PTC could be mobilized and try to knock Hollywood down another rung (a la Janet Jackson -- they loved what that shit accomplished!).

But that's really all he says about what TV should or shouldn't air. Instead he begins down this path about what morals entertainment should preach:

There's also a remarkable double standard at work here. While denouncing the free-speech rights of "crazy Christians," Hollywood exercises its own restrictions, zealously avoiding on camera the many social taboos -- smoking cigarettes, say -- to which it subscribes.

I ask you to watch the episode and see any place where the "free speech right" of anyone (friend or foe) was put in jeopardy.

What Hollywood likes is having the almighty power to offend -- to "challenge" society, as they like to describe it -- freely. But only some people are sought out for offending. For every supposedly crazy parent who worries about sex, violence and smutty talk on TV, perhaps there's another supposedly crazy parent who worries about different offenses, such as Twinkie commercials or scenes with cool, beautiful people smoking cigarettes.

Huhn? The only thing I can read into that is that organized religion and Twinkies are both sugary treats to be avoided...and maybe the talking-picture-box will make fun of you for falling for either of them too hard. (And, let me add in here, that the Christian character on Studio 60 is the most realistic portrayal of a believer I've seen on television, ever.)

The sum it up, you can tell how neutered Bozell feels in this piece -- he's wishing they'd shown "Crazy Christians" so bad. He's wishing they'd actually slurred Jesus. He's wishing the marketplace was filled with more than just intellectual ideas -- he wishing there was an infraction he could latch onto. Unfortunately for him, Sorkin's too smart for that.

Friday, October 20, 2006

New York City Soap Opera

So Darren asks Joanne out. Joanne accepts. They eat at China Grill. (Nice restaurant. I've been there.) Darren pays, despite Joanne offering to split the check.

At some point after the meal, Darren gets the idea that Joanne didn't like him.

Rather than just chalk it up to a bad date (hey, it happens, right?) Darren... Well, Darren has other plans.

Ewwwwww....you just know you want to read the rest. (It even has actual post-date voicemails for you to enjoy!)

(via Gawker)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Opiniogram #1

Here at SW we pride ourselves on something called "innovation". In this case, that means taking decades old ideas and rehashing them.

This is the first in a series of OpiniogramsTM -- my prescient thoughts, without the actual pain of having to hear me speak them.


(as always, click for a larger look)

Without Further Comment #6 (Vice edition)

Last week President Bush signed a law that will try to impede online gambling by prohibiting American banks from transferring money to gambling sites....

If a free society is to work, the vast majority of citizens must reflexively obey the law not because they fear punishment, but because they accept that the rule of law makes society possible. That reflexive law-abidingness is reinforced when the laws are limited to core objectives that enjoy consensus support, even though people may disagree on means.

Thus society is weakened every time a law is passed that large numbers of reasonable, responsible citizens think is stupid. Such laws invite good citizens to choose knowingly to break the law, confident that they are doing nothing morally wrong.

via today's NYT

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Soul Mate

If you were lucky like me, this was today's Staying West banner ad:

That's a pretty huge claim...and being one who's incredibly gulliable and believes that technology ought to be able to solve any worldly problem, it certainly warranted more inspection. Clearly, there must have been some sort of statisical scienctific breakthrough (and it certainly made me wonder why creepy Dr. Warren Clark wasn't promising the same thing.)

Anyways -- click on the link, here's what you get:

Just a box for your name, your cellphone number and a pulldown menu where you put in your Zodiac sign. Simple! And you know how much I love intuitive interfaces. (Take that, Mr. Twenty Nine Dimensions!)

But, I didn't click it, because the "Terms and Conditions" you accept by clicking really suck:

(click to see larger)

Of course, $33.95 for a month is a small price to pay for such useful information (and horoscope text messages!)...however, I somehow suspect thier name matching algorithms might not be up to snuff yet, and I'd have to wait many billing cycles before I get the golden piece of information. Bummer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

This is a terrible time waster

As if you needed one.

(via Digg)

(My highscore is in the 110,000s. Lemme know how you do.)

(Update: After some consideration, and alot of Wordy playing this afternoon, I feel last night's post may have been made with impaired judgement. It was probably more along the lines of 11,000...either that, or Cote du Rhone is the magical elixir of word games!)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Exciting New Search Engine

Thanks, David Pogue!